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DESCRIPTIONMillbrook High School's Art and Literary Magazine
Millbrook High School
Art & Literary Magazine
25. Daisy Bouquet by Alec Duncan
31. Run by Joshua Masters
32. Vietnam by Linda Nguyen
33. The End is Never the End by Cameron Townsend
38. My Voice by Morgan Dean
Back Cover: Plastic Expressions by Sydney Warren
3. 50/50 by Jennifer Haines
5. Fat Girl by Joy Black
6. McDonalds Cooken by Eli Kay
7. Writing Utensil by Jennifer Haines
8. Pretty by Jessica Lane
9. Black and Blue by Daniel Monazah
10. Endure by Jennifer Haines
11. Paper-Crane Grace by Eli Kay
12. Damned Little Punk by
16. To Middle School Me by
17. Swift Nostalgia by Jens Myers
18. Last Words by Eli Kay
19. Forth by Adrian Janni
20. Tell Me Not Gold by Eli Kay
21. Toc-Tic by Sarah Gray Lesley
24. Down by the Bay by Lydia
32. Ignorance by Spencer Lane
Cover: Man in the Mirror by Payton
3. Camera by Caitlin Rathvon
4. Sale ou non by Caitlin Rathvon
5. Shatter by Payton Jameson
8. Deterioration by Maryam Yamadi
11. Balancing the Void by
13. Shake by Rebecca Costa
14. Self-Portait by Sonia Wrobel
14. Obstacle by Andrew Feist
14.Death of Creativity by
14. Glimpse by Madison Rivera
15. Protective Embrace by Lurae
15. Self-Portrait by Mary Claire
15. An Apple a Day by Hannah Harris
18. Headdress Whispers by
19. Ballerina Tattoos by Maryam
23.Space Time by Anna Rinderer
24.Bay-bound by Jacob
Katzenstein 26. Prodigy by Sarah Gray Lesley
34. Que Sera by Adrian Janni
The paperwork gleams.
The instructions glare at me
(C) Asian/Pacific Islander
I am eight years old
Picking which to be, but I
I am (E)
None of the above.
I am other.
The color outside of
I am torn.
The clock ticks.
I bury my disowned half
Beside my mothers grave.
I avoid her eyes in the mirror
I bury my disowned half
Beside my mothers grave.
I avoid her eyes in the mirror
Curly red hair
Pulled up in a bun,
Exposing a neck full of
Sharp bones press
Tight against pale skin,
they are trying to escape.
On a curved back is a
that is clearly defined.
Below a flat chest are ribs,
despite being fragile,
Stand out defiantly.
Jeans are pulled up
and are left sagging
on thin hips.
A sweater is shrugged on
and swallows a
at the fat girl in the mirror,
and she has the audacity
to glare back.
In an angel oven,
Like a glowing exit sign
That opens up to a cliff.
Angel over, angel over angel, over, angel
Still force feeding hearts to a stone Golgotha
often called 'life'; filled with false promises
That hold back suggestive rules.
Theres an old book
Bound with lavish leather laughing
At the ravenous maw of the world:
Its Scratched down in hate, power,
Its pre-heated eternity; thats so sought after
They run backwards- without question-
Theyre just osteal over-all.
What am I then?
Id say Im pretty plain.
Not too much of
Steady and reliable,
But able to change
I can be light or dark.
Its all about my mood.
Some say Im boring grey,
But those who get to
Find I can be colored too.
I admit I have my faults.
I smear on occasion,
And yes, sometimes I break.
But every time I
come back sharper.
Im persistent that way.
And Im proud to be
A Writing Utensil
I guess Im a pencil.
I used to think I was a marker,
Interesting and colorful,
Permanent or washable,
Depending on the day
I suppose Im not that bold though,
So sure and striking,
Always an eye-catcher,
All over the place.
No, thats not me.
I dont think I could ever be a pen,
Strong and certain,
Slow to fade,
Knowing what I want,
Never changing my ways.
Ive never thought myself a highlighter.
Id like to think Im not that shallow,
Constantly in your face.
Pretty Jessica Lane
I am not pretty.
I am not lovely or quiet.
I am not a work of art, not the
All American Mona Lisa that you painted me to be,
with a generic lipstick smile
and starched white apron
as my eyes sigh promises
of mundane, not-quite-love.
I am not a face-
I am loud. I am expressive and fearsome.
I come home, holding anger in my fists
and enough sunlight in my eyes to burn you with a glare
from how you tried to touch me.
I am erupting flames,
like fire from a mountain
that has slept for too long.
I will not go back to sleep. I will burn until I blind myself
from my own luminescence.
and all the oceans in the
world will not
What did I do
To be so black
at first, afraid.
of which I was incapable, lingered beneath the
And yet, it
was satisfying to hear the silence
of sound. I had discovered my beingeven
though I could not answer.
To see around
corners is enough,
But to hear
around them inhibits action,
I believe in nothing
of not in action.
Ones sense of time would run down.
Or I might forget to leave my hole.
Meanwhile I enjoy my life, compliments of
Light&Power. You never recognize me,
and youll hardly believe that I exist; it wont
Before, I lived in darkness By Daniel Monazah
You have these wrinkles
Imbedded in both your hands
That symbolize Sky.
I swear you know flight,
They conquer such height.
Poem by Eli Kay Art: Hannah Harris
I wanna be that damned little punk.
Who steals her parents liquor
And blows smoke through
Bathroom ventilation fans. Because maybe,
If I blow hard enough, itll carry my prayers
To the heavens like the incense does in churches.
I may not believe in capitol G God,
But I surely believe in capitol S Someone, and maybe if I
Wear tights with a snag for every time Ive sacrificed myself
For someone else, or if I wear boots big enough to let them
Hear me coming, or if I encase my nightly prayers in
Carcinogens theyll float up because they have
No where else to go. And maybe someone will hear.
But when I cry, I only echo. My voice bouncing back to me,
Ricocheting off the empty walls,
Because I am that dammed little punk, who hides
Behind clouds of smoke and empty bottles.
At least then, its harder to notice their absence.
At least now, theres always something to steal.
Self-Portait- Sonia Wrobel
Obstacle- Andrew Feist
Death of Creativity- Peyton Jameson
Glimpse Madison Rivera
rtrait- Mary C
If I passed you in the halls today
Would you recognize me?
Youd have to look up to see my face, and know your oval morphed;
Youd have to recognize my darker hair, and look past its shortness.
Would you understand why
I would be wearing skinny jeans
And a shirt saying carpe diem?
If I talked to you in the halls today,
Would you know me? Youd have to listen past the country
To hear Boy and Panics strains.
Youd have to understand why
I throw my head back and laugh
As I toss out my favorites,
My dreams and my cares.
Would you recognize
in my vivacity your reserve?
Would you recognize in my
Verbosity your carefully meted words?
But if I met you today,
Would you think that I
Still have your love?
That I still have your care,
Your intelligence and faith
That everyone is good?
If we talked for hours
And I showed you my scars,
Would you know how I got them
And think me worthwhile,
Despite them or maybe because of them?
Six years separate me from you.
Ive been places you havent
And done things you dont know
Could be done.
If I passed you today in the halls
Would you trust me and my goodness
As I today trust yours?
will grow from your
grave, and some
will call them weeds,
But you will be buried
within the hour.
Headdress Whispers - Maryam Yamadi
will grow from your
grave, and some
will call them weeds,
But you will be buried
within the hour.
Dont stop the train
No, the comet in which soars
Higher and higher,
Bristling and ambitioning
With the fire
That christens your family
In the blood
of this infinite sky.
Dont crave the shade
No, the carcass in which rots
Darker and darker,
Putrefying and deadening
With the stone
That anchors your family
In the flood of this desolate plain.
Take this heart of mine!
Tear it beating from my chest,
Seeping blood into your veins,
Bursting them open to set
Ablaze the very things that we
Fear with the invincible vigor of
Tell-Me-Not-Gold Mermaid flowers Bloom Iridescences between hues Of seas left unseen Wolf-whistles real low And night lights with sea foam glow: Petals made to woo. [Comatose and bleach All-in-all the same white thing: Gray never bloomed right.] Mermaid Flowers Sway In to waters just too deep. Still believing sun. They aren't the lost ones They have songs that sing fever And hearts without cure
They have deep-sea eyes They chime out "Come fol-low us, We're just ecstasy: Our minds are racing, Left us- went chasing Pirates. Their Tell-Me-Not-Gold." Summer hands
break warmth, Kneed fire, immolate thought. Harlequin flowers All but arbitrary lust: Small cries of ire. We grin all but gray Our flowers can't bloom that way- Our Tell-Me-Not-Gold It was made to gleam. Deep waters of in-between 'Twas made to be seen.
What they are is not there,
Tucked inside skinny paper plates. Are
They going to be gone so
Soon? Before they drink too many
Or they cry before the tictoc
Of their quick, adolescent clocks
Stop? Heralding to all, everywhere,
That though they will tell their telling
Tales, they are no longer people
Of endless dreams. They are not what
Memory-making feeds because toctic
Has come to them, first time,
Last time, nine oclock, it, The cold, geriatric witching hour, is
Listlessly arriving in order for
Them to meet the aging tictic
Body-craved curfew, came at that instance
When they swore that to have five
Was not even the starting toc
To their toctic night, where minutes
Were slurring together so that only a toc
Felt as though it was far past
The means to down, to force, a number six,
The means to reach that solitary tic.
She, sprawled across a down-covered box spring,
Pinches here, pinches there, where there is
Tastelessly lumped flesh, not her, not
The mini-skirt and tank-top, carb regulated
Form. But he comes anyway and
Makes her shift to the right and the bed does
This ship-deck screech, not her, not
Like it was before, where now, later, to get,
Crawling and mascara-stained, out
Of the searching crowd below, out of
The boom-booming waiting, placed order
Of seeking, but never touching, intoxication nor
A lost-in-translation moment between do
And dont. Ten-year-old music, its Nostalgic fingers have calloused hands
- Sarah Gray Lesley
With patches of hair collected beside a
Line of ink-stained, paper-cut, bit little
Nails. His attempts, feeble, caresses, jerking
Rather than soft. You should move, move
To the left, he says. Theyve gotten over Romance and play love like color-by-numbers.
No use in taking this charade slowly.
Wish it was that one guy, three years. We
Were not so tattered then. We do
Not have the stamina to jump, not
Have the hope to even try to wind
Ourselves up: Jack-in-the-box. It
Will do its job. It will get us up
Enough to look as though we relived it
But there is that man, not boy, who has
No drink, no lacy sweat beads, no
Organization on the ledges of his hand, weights
Of waiting weighing way down to springs
Of break, where car horns and rubber-burned wheels
Because of the soundtrack to the dance of inside
Circles, not circles of trust, circles of
Using and usability, and the feeling of its
Sweet, slobbery promises against the slender
Curve of a nameless girl. Drowning in self
And the loss of it. But now there is no
Slender, bottle-fed Barbie, no, indeed
All of the faces looking like those stalagmites of
Lessons unheard when moments were too dear
To waste with legs trapped underneath a learner of nothing.
But was the rush he felt, release of
Inhibition, the endless dazedness, the
Cataclysmic wanderings, made of the kind
Of joy he thought hed never find again? So,
He leaves his coat and lunges himself back to when
The bass didnt give migraines and a kiss
Did not wait to come only from one Spring
To the next, when a girl that, to you, comes
Comes as no surprise and thoughts of well
Never meet again is followed by a hot wet kiss.
But he looks around, at all he sees, each
Has a pencil-colored mouth, and lines, not lips, to kiss,
To kiss another, one of those precious other
Who have too little cares and too little on
To dare try to say that they dont want a kiss
From the one who has had too little of the
Punch, too little lacking, to dare think to kiss,
A trial run for bliss, a journey on foreign lips.
So he grabs one quickly, deftly, because
Hes swarmed and cant tell which reached their tic
Of the toctic, but never tictoc, clocks.
She spins and stumbles, so clearly past toc.
Hey, my name is But he tells, Dont
Because he wants nameless faces to make
Tame-less graces in the nameless room, a
Head-of-the-bed clock going toctic
And with each locked lip, he feels the difference,
But hes on his way, not going to
Missmiss yet another misguided kisskiss
Because the moments truth, so locked in you,
Is saved for few who rarely knew, and
Sweats bleeding unlike it used to
And all he wanted, dear God, was a
For the nights ends of emptying of a
Space Time - Anna Rinderer
Way out by the bay,
we drove for miles.
Because we thought,
that if we bought,
that idolized car they all would
popularity can be taught.
But way out by the bay,
what we never expected to see.
That person we never expected
That horrible time in May,
when it was she and not we.
And way out by the bay,
when things were said but not meant.
When we were who we werent,
And we never thought wed learn what we learnt.
That the area that is all too grey,
wont always protect you from getting burnt.
Way out by the bay,
when our only intention,
was to buy that beloved car.
Bay-bound Jacob Katzenstein
Poem by Lydia Granholm
Even though it was so far.
And when the populars spoke it was never just play.
It shouldnt be up to her to keep her feelings in a jar.
We were way out by the bay,
with plans of a purchase,
so that the others would think,
were on the brink,
of no longer being less than nothing but more than okay.
But their words,
And so way out by the bay,
we achieved our goal, and they theirs.
And though we technically returned victorious,
to not cast blame they implored us.
But now in this car I see only what they say.
Once a fond memory, its now only
Poem by Lydia Granholm
Here we sit, you and I. Your finely filtered interior placed, systematically and aggressively high against the stiff, varnished wood. My face stuffed between the folds of your skin, my mind sag-ging under the weight, the mundane newness, while they sit round, legs crossed and fifty fallibly fancy papers crescendo-ing at their feet. Father and Mother consume one edge of the parental ring. From their parental loins I came, lathered and lavished, to be presented to the world with my head on a platter. A gift, I was, at the smashing age of three. Legos attached and detached to present a work of architectural genius, and they drained my satisfaction with a long game of photo-clicking and newspaper-publishing. The boy in the shadowed corners of such chronicling is barely notice-able now, sitting, on the other end, with malice in eye. His heart-hearty body slanted at a forty degree angle against the plastered wall, he is Br-other. Who knew that adding two roll-off-your-tongue consonants would break into a natural other? It takes one to make the other. The otherness found in his two-a-day toned legs and my hairless pegs, the bulges riding through his biceps and the bones peek-a-boo-ing from mine.
Brother, Mother, Father, gnawing on boxed pizza pies, have stretched on mental tiptoes to find me, where I am, stapled on a prestigious precipice of prodigy, scavenger through the pages of the retreat inside my favorite novel. Oh there, found here, is a piece of compassion, tucked inside the pages of a Rushdie. One moor sigh and a half-moored life. Knifed. Sometimes I can sympathize. Fourteen years have passed since my crowning, my debut; eight years of fingers calculating for solutions that held no meaning that led to an innumerable number of checks sent to the doorstep of Brother, Other, Mother, Father: Home. You were delivered, shiny and new, drawing closer and closer. My work as an entire a child-hood, one confined to the halls of books and journeys and delights, ablaze. They surround me but do not touch.
White pages sensually seared with figures that merely tickle my brain. You, with the soft ideas and hard facts, grasp hold of some lobe that was earlier occupied. We were lost amidst the barbarian-ism, that cold-blooded anarchist mutiny, coiled inside the library. A cluster of students clumped in the stacks of the local university, where I, with growing pubescent savagery, scoured, with my paper-cut, ink-stained hands, the grotesque works of that fiend Tolstoy and that madman Hemingway. I brought them home to my family, arranging both bodies of blood and of work around a table. But when I was there, I swam solitary in those halls, sequestered by a team of sun-kissed elders with half-minds to mine, smiling and spill-ing laughs that tasted sour when my silence swallowed them. My sallow face played like imitations of you, incarnate in these pages. You have brought me here, sowing the unsolvable benefits. I re-main straddled with a howling hall of faces, pouring over fresh in-formation that stains stale in me. How could Mother-Father have known, adorned with that phos-phorescent lighting, holding my slickly formed new body, to not drop my bald head on the plastic linoleum? How to know that after only a few years, I would place on them a certain sense of placid-ity? You, oh school of guided thoughts, crammed with the wastes of knowledge, have sat inside me since that fateful moment. I, at the age of two and zero, crawled towards you and grasped for your meanings and organized them amongst my blocks, where women with butterfly glasses and cotton-ball hair would declare, Ah, gen-ius! We were proclaimed, you and I, me and you, verbally af-firmed. No time can separate us now, years not bring any divide. They still give me to you and you to me, both thicker, finer, and laminated to slaughter. I sigh half-moored sighs and watch the laughter of semi-scholar-ed barbarians play like a motion picture in the back of my thoughts. I wish wisely wait-full wishes with the slamming of another cover. Angels dust ascends. Descends. Again. I watch you, wading up to me, with cold passivity. Enjoy or not, we are bound or bonded together, surfaced to the world with con-joined identity.
We are the presented. Four through eleven we found each other with a visceral attraction of sorts, discovering and creating each of our growing figures, and me worshipping your ethereal essence and intelligence, molding myself to each. Now, how routine has trumped ecstasy, and a sense of the other-Brother jealousy and Mother-Father bothers have created muffled divides. I ask you to recall, upon a birthday, when I blew out spit and miniature flames with you placed against my hands. Recall how we retired to the soli-tude of my chambers. The light above, as we illuminated, flickered and died miserably, but I held you, in the darkness, your smell and mine mixing to a mysterious musk. Sleep subdued expectations.
With a defamatory spat, Brother viciously sends your fallen comrade to the floor. I feel no pang of worry for your care, nor how you are arranged. He states that he shall be leaving for bed, fol-lowed by a swift departure. Mother-Father watches, and I watch them. They contemplate Other-Brother philosophies with steady stares, then motor away, each, one following the other, always in alphabetical order. They seem to waddle more than walk. Either way it is the same.
My fingers clasp to the sharp-edged corner of your squared margins. We are one. I breathe your air, as you breathe mine. I stay, trapped against you, careening through all your ideas, proving all your theses, filling all your empties. I look, no, I dare a cheating, adulterous glance at my insidious collegiate novels. Those commu-nal, classless conspirators once stuffed in those universal halls are probably paperless-ly preparing for a night alit with unintelligent conversation along with a superfluous use of tongue in the passion-ate embrace of drunkenness. Where would I be placed in this riot-ous romp, if it werent for you? Perhaps I would be stacked be-tween the pillars of sweat-drenched bodies, reading the covers of empty beer cans, or uncovering the slope of the curves drawn on a disillusioned female? But you know that I will not. I could not.
Eleven rings on the clock above. It is late for us, but you, desperate you, reach from your two-dimensions and strangle the sleep from my drooping eyelids. I watch you unravel into naked theories, pulled from nothing like childrens salami-fingers reaching, into the darkness of curiosity, for any connection to the host of ob-servations. There is no basis, no priority. It is rather dull. I disprove each of your whims, avoid each conniving trick and dodge them, through the muddled haze of my weakening determination. I write a few thoughts on this self-proclaimed rogues work that you have led me towards. He finds himself revolutionary, while I find him insipid. For a moment, I believe that something may come from the glorious pouring of ideas that travel like electric cur-rents from the edge of my thoughts through the tense taught-ness of my arm into my clenched fingers. Scratching and scraping, you bleed into the page, and I think that I have it. I think that I have you. And it is wonderful, primitive, wistful. Flying through you, conquer-ing you like I will others when manhood has dressed me in inde-pendence and decisions. I can see him, a man born from you. And then you disappear from my ink, your blood no longer flowing, and there is justice in the subtle slowing of my instrument. A single tear sits on my bottom lid, but it is extraneous. I sleep with-out you, in the coldness of white-colored sheets that you bought me, and dream the dreams that are tattooed with you. I breathe the air in a way that you once told me was the best way to lengthen a life, my half-moored life. Knifed. I wake with thoughts of you. You, Brother, Other, Father, Mother congregate like dogs to the smell of breakfast without speaking in any semblance of eroticism, just weather and eggs that were birthed onto my plate from Father who grunted at me in ac-knowledgment. Yet I gain far more from his caveman communica-tions than you.
You are cradled in the crook between my right thumb and index finger, where your weight, over the years, has hollowed out a groove to rest in, take residence, and remind me, when you arent there, that you should be. We walk to my bed, where it is warmer with you here, where, at the scheme of chance, you begin to bring up something I have never heard before. It is Freudian, the study. Emotions described in linguistic calculations, that once read, can never be felt as it did previously. I see myself as a distorted reflec-tion against your pages. I hear my story inside your words. Your freshness overtakes me. It is quick, tender, like playground kisses underneath the swing sets, or at least how I imagined them when I read those barbaric books huddled underneath the covers of my protective fort of a comforter at the age of six. I analyze you, and you analyze me, and I realize that there is no you. There is only you inside me and me inside you. This is our half-moored, Other-ed life. I cannot hold you. You are shedding black tears, tiny roads mapping out reality and blurring the facts. I can no longer look at you, and as you drop to the heap of white, I can no longer see where you began or will end.
Ignorance is not bliss: ignorance is mislabeled. Ignorance is used too often. Ignorance shades the mind and creates a false fairy tale world for
us to subside in and fight over. We find ourselves speaking out against
others views, calling each other ignorant instead of just disagreeing. We talk with no open mind nor a changeable opinion. In order to be
ignorant you need to be shaded from the truth, not disagree with
Qu Sera by Adrian Janni
Qu sera, my father would say, sera. I heard him say it first when he, my two brothers, and I were by Pa-Pas bed as he died. Pa-Pa, my grandfather, was as resilient as the steel he had worked. His heart, though, was
as warm as the fires in the mills. He fought death for months in the stuffiness
of our guest room, and was lively for every moment he had left. Qu sera, sera was the verbal lifeblood of my father and his father alike. It means, in
Spanish, What will be, will be.
Pittsburgh was a hard place to be at the time, and even harder to be
from. White people were still uneasy around minorities, and would jump to
conclusions whenever crime was in the question.
Were all Americans in this country, even if our last names dont end in son or ton, my mother ranted. I was born to a Hispanic family, my grandparents being from Spain. Both of my parents had been born in the
United States, my father Spanish-American and my mother African-American.
I did not feel the racial-tension until I started school (a year after Pa-Pa
passed). My family would then teach me to be tough before it got tough.
Life will hit you hard, but not as hard as you can hit it back, was one of my dads many sayings. I was an easy crier, though, so I doubt would have ever swung back. I had more toys than friends; I spent most of my days as a toddler
crashing my cars or smashing my G.I. Joes together. The neighborhood kids
never wanted to play with me, and would steal my toys to watch the water-
show my eyes would perform. My parents would scold me for the racket I
made, in what seemed to be their way of toughening. It would only make me
feel more aloneif it were not for Pa-Pa.
His scraggly face, framing his hazelnut eyes, would nuzzle my face as
we wrestled on his bed. The smell of rioja wine was woven into his jubilant
laughter. My mother would warn that all of the excitement was not good for
Pa-Pas condition, but he would just flash his smile of corn-teeth and say, Well, who else is going to tame mi pequeno monstruo? He was my best friendunlike my brothers at the time. The two boys, both black-haired and wild-eyed, were either finding trouble or making it. Pa-Pa told me that every
young man goes through such a phase, and said I would eventually too. I just
wanted to play with my best friend forever.Before his accident, Pa-Pa worked
the steel-mills alongside my father and uncles. He never complained about his
labor, unless it pertained to the outsourcing of factory jobs. The Garcas have melted iron ever since I fled Spain and its silly civil war. We forged the coun-
try you see todayand how do the big businessman on-top repay us? With a swift kick to mi culo! Pa-Pa swore up and down that he could still work de-spite his third-degree-burned arm, but the company kept him suspended.
When it finally did heal, they did not fire him, as the men in suits claimed, but
instead implied retirement. He had been employed for forty-two years.
His heart withered to be as wrinkled and dried as that scorched arm. After
Gramma passed away from unforeseen illness, years before he lost his job, Pa-
Pa stopped visiting and began avoiding our calls. My dad said he was suffer-
ing depression. I didnt like the word at all, and I hated it more when my
grandfather wandered down the street on a weekend night and stood on our
front porch. His knocking on the door was hardly a tap and I was aghast to see
him when I opened the door. The street light behind him cast him as a silhou-
ette, making him look empty. His eyes were milky and stared unblinkingly
from the dark pits of his stony face. He seemed to be trying to say something
before he fell in a crumpled heap on the floorboards. My parents were there
faster than a Conway train. They called for our neighbora nursewho then
kept him alive until the ambulance arrived. It was the most dead I had ever
seen him. The image of the hollow carcass that he embodied that night is for-
ever my definition for depression. For the first time in my life, I did not
sleep that night.
I didnt know if he was still alive. After seeing him that night and
how he collapsed, I assumed he had died. When my father took the family to
visit him the next day, I thought we were going to his funeral. I saw no differ-
ence between a hospital and a morgue, so I was already in tears by the time we
got to the front doors, drowning in the mocking sunshine that plagued the sky.
Mother shushed me, and I grew quiet. I was startled by the fluorescent light-
ing, thinking a funeral home would be illuminated more subtly. Walking
through the halls, I thought the patients were corpses, and I held my breath
when I saw them walking too.
Mama! Mama! Are those people dead? I whispered.What?
No, theyre not dead! Dont bother them, you got it, boy? my mother, who
was busy with my little sister, ignored me. I continued to shiver with every
cream-colored door we passed, expecting some zombie or ghost to pop out.
We arrived at Pa-Pas room, and I became certain that he was dead. He laid
there unmoving, eyes closed and as pale as a desert. My parents and brothers
released a sigh of relief that appalled me. What, are they happy to see Pa-Pa
dead? Tears welling in my eyes again, I ran to the old mans side and yelled,
I am the only one who ever loved you, Pa-Pa! My eyes remained clenched
shut until I heard his gravelly accent say, Well, thats all that matters.
Pa-Pa spent one week in the hospital, and after much argument on his part, was
moved to our house. The doctor told us to keep an eye on him and that he
should not overexert himself. He, of course, turned a deaf ear to the doctor. Pa
-Pa, who would defy the claim that he was bedridden, became my first play-
mate. No one my age wanted to play with the crybaby. My mother would be
cleaning or cooking in the house while he and I played pirates in the front yard.
Whenever my father wasnt working, and had enough energy, he would come out and play soccer with us. He guarded the goal (our driveway) as our
dynamic duo attacked with the tattered, brown ball. I always scored, even if I
missed the ball when I swung my foot at it.
For weeks we followed the routine of playing games, drawing pic-
tures and reading books (he did most of the reading, though). He would tire
easily, but could be rejuvenated with some cheese and two glasses of wine.
This man had changedone moment hes just my grandfather down the street, and in another hes my best friend. Pa-Pa was constantly criticized that he was not acting his age. I thought that whatever age he was supposed to act, I never would want to be it. He was always happy; except for the few times I
found him crying. At those times I would sit down and cry with him. That
would always cheer him up, and he would begin tickling me in response.
Ooh, mi pequeno monstruo! he would giggle.
One day, Pa-Pa and I were taking a walk through the neighborhood,
counting the cracks in the sidewalk and being extremely careful to not step on
them for my mothers sake. My brothers had just gotten a car for themselves and we thought it be gracious to not break her back when she was at risk of a
heart attack. He knew that he shouldnt be out of bed for this long, and I told
him, as my mother always did. Spewing his wine-flecked breath, he spoke:
You see, nietecito, I have been sick. But I wont be for much longer. I have learned something in the time I have spent with you. You have
taught me so much, and I thought I had learned all that there was to know. We
all have so much to learn, and such little time to do so. I have found a certain
pride in realizing this, but sadness too, he gets down on one knee and his eyes meet mine, Dont ever grow up. Youll waste too much time trying too.I was completely clueless to what he had said. It was just big person talk to me.
That began to change, though, when he collapsed for the second time the next
day. We didnt even take him to the hospital. My father just carried him to the guest room bed. The closest my father ever came to crying was when he said,
The doctors prediction for his time left was too precise.I did not leave Pa-Pas side for days I needed to be there for when he woke up. I had to be dragged out of there just to eat dinner, and I would not even do that unless I
could bring it into the guest room.
Hes still breathing, heart rates faint Im sorry. He is still alive, but the
doctor stuttered the one time he visited.
But what? my father barked, his face either seething anger, fear, or
Comatose one of the few grown-up words I had known. I was
disheartened, but not hopeless when I heard it. Pa-Pa just had to live. He just
I want to say my grandfather went peacefully, but two days later the
whole neighborhood could have heard him die. Thrashing and screaming,
clawing and biting, he had awoken on a sunny evening and had taken to trying
to open the rooms tiny window. When he returned home by my mothers call,
it took all of my fathers strength to pry him from the sill. Pa-Pas eyes bulged
with the same milky glaze again, and the vessels in his wrinkled, red neck
seemed fit to burst. Soon the whole family had gathered around the horrific
scene, stunned silently. I stood at the foot of the bed, where I was just tall
enough to watch my father grapple my withered friend. He continued to strug-
gle under my fathers restraint for what felt like an eternity. Finally, when I
couldnt take it anymore, I jumped on the bed and screeched, Stop it!
He did Pa-Pa stopped all of himself, with only his quivering lips
mouthing some incoherent words. His gaze was transfixed on me, no longer
glazed. The pain had passed, and with a labored inhale, Pa-Pa exhaled, Mi
amo. Light fled from his eyes, as the sunlight from his window did too. I
closed my eyes, and without crying, whispered, my love to you too. It was
then that I understood Pa-Pas words.
Qu sera, my father said, sera.
Note to the Reader
Identity: The clichs are endless. Advertisements, movies, books, and articles
all implore teenagers to find their identity inside the halls of high school. We
are to know who we are by the time we finally reach the ever-approaching
real world. Being a generation bred from High School Musicals and epi-sodes of Glee, we have been inundated with self-identification. Our journeys to
this moment of self-epiphany, however, arent strung together with catchy cho-ruses or romantic rooftop dances, but more often than not, strings of the ordi-
nary. The literary magazine wanted to celebrate how this ordinariness can
breed the extraordinary in individuals, individuals who can then translate these
moments of realizations onto a page, whether that be through photographs,
paintings, poetry, etc.
Through selecting the stories, poems, and artwork that goes into this
years edition of the Tempest, we were thrilled to see the vast range of defini-tions the authors and artists had for identity. More importantly, we found that
students not only explored their own identity but the identity of others, placing
themselves in others shoes to understand a perspective beyond their own. Through this, I came to my own realization that this search for finding how we
are unique frequently overshadows the search to understand the unique facets
within and beyond communities that we live in. I hope that inside this maga-
zine there is at least one story, poem, work of art, or pieces within each, that
connects to your perception of your identity. I invite you to open up and ex-
plore the themes throughout, explore the stories, explore the tensions within
the sketches, explore the line breaks of the poems, because each has the direct
purpose of allowing you, the reader, to explore, not only the identity of the
writer or artist, but a piece of your own identity.
Many thanks to Mrs. and Mr. Davis, our supervisors. Thank you for
tirelessly rallying the staff throughout the year to allow this magazine to be-
come reality, and more importantly, thank you for understanding the impor-
tance of a literary magazine within a high school community. Also, thanks to
Eli Koterba. Without your constant efforts to perfect (and then re-perfect, and
then re-re-perfect) the layout of the magazine, this years Tempest would never have become a reality. Thank you to all the Tempest staff who have devoted
many hours to selecting and perfecting this magazines. Your input and ever-
available assistance were irreplaceable. Thank you to all who submitted. Your
work both inspired and challenged the staff in more ways than one. Thank you
for your bravery to give us a piece of yourself, let us publish it, and then shuf-
fle it around school. Finally, thank you, Reader, for exploring this collection of
identities. There is no greater gratification than to have your work seen and
Sarah Gray Lesley